O's not losing sight of Pie's potential

O's not losing sight of Pie's potential

NEW YORK -- It's hard to make an impression when you never get a chance to play. That's the current state of affairs for Orioles outfielder Felix Pie, who has found himself squeezed out of the rotation in recent days. Pie, who began the season as the team's everyday left fielder, will get a rare starting assignment in Saturday's series finale.

How rare is it? Consider this: After logging 87 at-bats in the season's first two months, Pie has had just 20 at-bats since the beginning of June. The youngster's sparse playing time is partly due to the emergence of rookie outfielder Nolan Reimold and partly dictated by the team facing a heavy load of left-handed pitchers.

"It's been tough," said manager Dave Trembley of Pie. "He's a member of this team. We play a lot of games. I think we play 20 in a row and then have a day off, and then 20 more in a row. Like everybody else who is not a regular player, you're going to have to use those guys. You're going to have to get them in."

Pie, who was acquired from the Cubs this past offseason, has taken his demotion in stride. The native of the Dominican Republic has responded to the challenge by working harder, and Trembley said he's pleased with Pie's effort. Of course, with Adam Jones in center field, there aren't a lot of at-bats to work around.

Now, if he's going to salvage his season, Pie will have to get over his rocky start. Baltimore doesn't give many days off to Jones or right fielder Nick Markakis, a fact that perhaps complicates Pie's situation. The Orioles like what he brings in terms of defense and pinch-running, though, and they're willing to keep him in a niche role.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Jason Berken (1-7, 6.44 ERA)
Berken has not won a game since May 26, which was also his big league debut. The right-hander is focusing on keeping the ball down in the zone. In his last outing, Berken didn't work as deep as the Orioles would have liked. He allowed six runs -- all earned -- on seven hits, and the White Sox knocked him out in the fifth inning. Berken hasn't gone beyond the sixth inning in each of his past five starts.

NYY: RHP A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.81 ERA)
Burnett got his second half started on a decent note, despite not having his best stuff. The right-hander battled through six innings of three-run, six-hit ball in defeating the Tigers on Friday at Yankee Stadium, walking five and striking out one in New York's 5-3 victory. Even with a no-decision, Burnett has lost just twice in his past nine starts, logging five victories over that span, and he is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three July outings.

Bird bites
Prior to Tuesday's game, the Orioles added RHP Cla Meredith to the active roster and optioned RHP Kam Mickolio to Triple-A Norfolk. Meredith, 26, was obtained Sunday in a trade with the San Diego Padres in exchange for IF Oscar Salazar and will wear uniform No. 26. ... The Orioles have outhit their opponents in all five games since the All-Star break but have lost four times in that span. For the season, the Orioles are 31-10 when they outhit their opponents. ... Baltimore is 7-12 in its past 19 games and has gone 1-13 against American League East rivals on the road this season. If that streak is extended back to last season, the Orioles are 2-24 in their past 26 road games against AL East opponents. ... The Orioles are 1-14 in their past 15 road games and have the worst road record (15-31) of any AL team. ... After another outfield assist in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Yankees, Markakis leads the AL in that category with 10. ... Baltimore is 28-22 when it scores first and 36-22 when it scores at least four runs in a game.

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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 6-4, 3.51) at Red Sox (Brad Penny, 6-4, 5.02), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 7-8, 5.12) at Red Sox (Jon Lester, 8-7, 3.87), 7:10 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.